Monique Bolli is part of the Institute of Area and Global Studies (IAGS) at the College of Humanities (CdH) at EPFL since February 2016. She is a PhD Student of the Doctoral School for Architecture and City Sciences (EDAR). Her PhD Thesis: "Liminal spaces and urban imaginaries: the maker movement in China. Communities, spaces and platforms of and in transition. Examples from Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing" is part of the FNS-funded project: "Makerspaces: politics and communities of innovation in China" which combines different approaches in the fields of urban studies, social anthropology, politics, economics and Chinese studies.
Before joining EPFL, she worked at the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing in the Environment, Development and Humanitarian Aid Division / Swiss Development Agency (SDC) on policy dialogue for poverty reduction and Public Private Partnerships for Development which are part of the innovative approaches in the field of cooperation. She has also worked as events officer at the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Beijing.
She completed her Bachelor degree in Social Anthropology at the University of Bern in 2010 including an Erasmus exchange at the University College London and got her Master degree in Pluridisciplinary Asian Studies from the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies including one year at the Peking University in China. She wrote a thesis connecting the fields of creativity/innovation and development on Chinese urban and social development focusing on spaces providing musical expression in Beijing (with Research and Study Scholarships). She can fluently speak French, German, English and Spanish, has a middle level in Mandarin Chinese, as well as notions of Italian and Russian.
In her PhD research, Monique had the opportunity to do fieldwork, meet great people, support makers, join talks and conferences, co-organize workshops and develop her thesis. Here a non-exhaustive list of the activities:
- Exploratory fieldwork in 2016 in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen (6 weeks)
- assisting and accompanying summer school MACS with MER Dr. Florence Graezer Bideau (2016), being assistant of her class "Asian Studies" (2016), and presenting / giving one class (2018)
- co-writing of the paper "Making the city: re-assembling spaces of manufacturing" CHI17 with Clément Renaud, Florence Graezer Bideau and Marc Laperrouza
- Co-organisation (with FDFA and diplofoundation) of the ASEM Day at EPFL (1.03.17)
- Visiting Scholar at Digital China Hub, Curtin University, Australia with Michael Keane for 3 weeks including a research presentation: « Communities, politics and spaces of innovation and creativity in urban China » (2017)
- Co-organisation of workshop “How to study makerspaces”, Ateliers de Renens, (2017)
- Presentation at the World Humanities Conference, Liège, with Michael Keane (August 2017)
“China’s Digital Diversity and the Sharing Economy in the New Era of National Sovereignty”
- Field research in China, affiliated to New York University Shanghai (NYU Shanghai) for 3 months in 2017: Field, interviews, notes, including being member of a makerspace (xinchejian) and developing a project in the community, visits to spaces, to makerfaire Shenzhen, industry tour in Shenzhen, maker carnival Shanghai, connections with swissnex, NYU, Shenzhen university, Beijing spaces
- Presentation at UNIGE, research and feedback on fieldwork, Citizen Sciences Group, (December 2017): “Makerspaces: politics and communities of innovation in China : Feedback from the field and discussion”
- (private) travel to Ethiopia to support a project between Shenzhen and Addis Ababa, "Designed in Ethiopia" (2018)
- Co-organisation of workshops in Shanghai and Shenzhen (2018)
“Mapping spaces for making” - http://mapmakers.space
- Presentation at Chinese Internet Research Conference, Leiden, Netherlands (2018)
“Makers in China : a Model to Export ? ”
- Poster Presentation at Tech4Dev conference, Lausanne (2018)
“Open Innovation for Development: an Educative and Entrepreneurial Project between Shenzhen and Addis Ababa ”
- Proposal accepted without finally participating at the conference: Africa-Asia, a New Axis of Knowledge - Second Edition, organised by IIAS, Dar es Salaam (2018)
Makerspaces: politics and communities of innovation in contemporary China (2016-2019)
Funded by the SNSF, the project is lead by Dr. Florence Graezer Bideau in collaboration with Dr. Marc Laperrouza, Monique Bolli and Clément Renaud (IAGS, EPFL). It investigates the social, technical and commercial attributes of key Chinese makerspaces and their communities in Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu). While limited in size and scope, makerspaces and the maker movement in general offer a very rich terrain to study much broader social, political and economic transformations taking place in contemporary China. It aims to shed light on how a bottom-up and autonomous movement responds to the co-opting of the State and to discuss the Chinese government’s plasticity and capacity to engage with emerging classes.